Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time out--Let's talk book recs

I've been reading a variety of things lately: Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin Van Ogtrop, Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe, a Skinny Girl book by Bethenny Frankel, etc., etc. You can see that I'm all over the place with choices. These tomes came to rest in my ample lap through different means--a friend, a memory, a quick browse. Which brings me to today's topic--book recommendations.

I love Elle magazine's book review section! Is it my imagination, or did Elle get a lot better in the last decade, or did I just get a lot worse? Oh well, this monthly piece, along with the same in Vanity Fair and dailies picked up along the way like The New York Times, give me great reading selections. Also, I enjoy the email newsletter "Good Reads." But the best recommendations come from friends. T.M. has provided me with, I would say, at least 50% of the titles listed in this blog. She is indispensable in her role as personal librarian. Thank you, T.M.!

That being said, if you, dear blogreader, could tell me your favorite titles, I would be most appreciative and post them. I'm curious if anyone has read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I'll probably read this one anyway, but if anyone has a special shout-out for it, I would love to know. By the way, I love lemon cake and could really use some right about now. I'll have to settle for a granola bar.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

It's summertime again, and the reading is easy. But easy doesn't have to mean bad. Let me recommend that grande dame of chick lit--Ms. Emily Giffin. (This fiction subtype isn't new anymore, and Ms. Giffin's been around long enough to earn that title.) Her books--Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, and Love the One You're With--are delightful, character-driven morality tales (think unplanned babies, coveting a best friend's boyfriend...). Giffin's latest book, Heart of the Matter, is a worthy addition to the quad. As in the others, here Giffin plainly relishes wrestling with life's thorny choices. Set in upscale Atlanta, the book describes the not so benign problems of Tess, wife of a pediatric plastic surgeon and mother of two small children. Her husband might be having an affair, or maybe he's just really, really busy. Surgeons work all the time, after all--she knows the life she signed on for. But still, he's rarely at home and when he is there, seems preoccupied with work. Tess worries she's lost her edge since she quit teaching to stay home with the children. Maybe she's become boring.

Most of us know someone like Tess. Heck, many of us probably are Tess, and that's one reason why Giffin's books are so enjoyable. She gives us prose that goes down like good gossip but has the oatmeal stick of object lessons. Anyone in a marriage could imagine, nay feel on their feet, Tess' stylish but uncomfortable shoes. Giffin takes the reader through the ebb and flow of faith and forgiveness that is marriage. To live this book would be hell, but to read it is sheer heaven. Isn't that the mark of a good writer? I think so. Check out all five of Emily Giffin's books--treat yourself. It's summer!